TROY — Chris Wheat said ministry is just part of his DNA, as his grandparents, parents and now his own family devotes their lives to the ministry of others.
Wheat recently took over as pastor of the Troy Church of Christ, a small congregation of about 30 people, after the church asked him to guest preach on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 8.
“I love God’s word and I love what it does in the hearts of people. If you share it with passion and share it with excitement, people tend to get excited about it. The word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword and it gets into your heart deeply. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that,” Wheat said. “It’s just a very powerful, powerful book from a very powerful God.”
Wheat was born in Bartlesville, Okla., but as the child and grandchild of active missionaries to southern Africa, he spent five years living in the Republic of Zimbabwe. From the ages of 7-12, he had the opportunity to see missionary experience up close and personal, while also learning the tribal language of Shona.
After working his teen years on construction, Wheat said he was torn between a career in construction or ministry. After his uncle, who is also a minister, invited him along on a couple of internships, his passion for ministry grew. After obtaining a degree from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., Wheat began preaching the word. Returning to Freed-Hardeman for a second degree in music, Wheat met the woman who would become his wife and mother of his two daughters.
Melanie Wheat, who also grew up as the daughter of missionaries, was studying theater, which brought them together. Melanie has starred in several community theater productions in Waco and Killeen, including “Into the Woods” and “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.”
“Of course, I’m biased, but I think she’s very talented,” Wheat said about his wife.
The couple has two daughters, 9-year-old Robin and 7-year-old Clara, who Wheat described as extremely extroverted.
“They’re kind of natural little ministers,” he said. “Anybody who walks in here, they’re gonna talk to, so they get to know everyone.”
Wheat said the very welcoming congregation is what drew his family to the Troy Church of Christ.
“This congregation was very welcoming and we realized that right off the bat,” he said. “Part of the reason for that is they’re a small group. They’re just very warm, very welcoming and very friendly. For us, I think we were looking for that.”
Coming into a small community church, Wheat said they will be trying to expand, so they can be of more service to the community, but for now, they will be focusing on the needs of the congregation.
“I’m trying to figure out what they want and what they need,” he said. “Right now, the goal is to get to know the congregation well enough to see what needs are here in the congregation. Once we are able to fulfill some of those needs, the congregation will feel the need to reach out a little bit and see what needs there are in the community. It’s a step-by-step process.”
Troy Church of Christ is located at 305 Wendler Lane in Troy. Sunday School begins at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, followed by the sermon at 10:50 a.m.